Last week at CEDIA EXPO, THX offered professional installers, calibrators, and retailers with newly created best practices for designing home theaters with 3D systems. They include guidelines for screen size, home viewing angles, and room layouts.
Here are a few tips for optimal 3D viewing from the THX team:
Screen Size Recommendations — Bigger is Better
Typically, larger screens offer a more immersive 3D experience because they fill your line of sight, allowing you to focus on the picture, without distractions. THX believes a TV or Projection Screen should create a field of view no larger than 50 degrees and no smaller than 36 degrees. This helps maintain the 3D effect with the right balance of crisp, sharp images. A bigger screen positioned further away from the viewer is better than a smaller screen positioned close to the viewer. Why? In the real world, when objects move closer to you, your eyes must cross to focus on them. The same goes for objects in 3D movies and broadcast programs. As 3D images appear to move off-screen, toward you, your eyes must cross to maintain focus. If the screen is positioned farther away, your eyes will remain more relaxed, tricking the brain into believing the 3D effect.
When depth is added to a movie or broadcast event, objects on-screen must demonstrate movements that are natural for viewers to believe the 3D effect. For example, if an action hero dives behind a car to dodge a bullet, the timing and motion needs to be believable. If the viewer is sitting too far off-axis, away from the center of the screen, the 3D effect can appear unnatural — distracting you from the storyline. THX recommends creating a seating area within a 30 degree zone, with a maximum viewing angle of 45 degrees. This ensures a direct line of site to the TV or projection screen.
Avoid Visual Distractions
Furniture, lighting and other objects in your line of sight can negatively impact the 3D experience and cause viewer fatigue. As a rule, THX recommends creating a clean, 120 degree open space between the main seating area and the screen. Avoid ambient light reflecting on the screen from windows or overhead sources. Glossy bezels and shiny screen surfaces can also lessen the 3D effect.